Tom Franklin, a southern writer frequently compared with the likes of Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor, draws readers in with his expertly woven stories of crime, suspense, and colorful characters. His most recent book, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (William Morrow), was a New York Times bestseller and reaped numerous literary awards, including the 2010 Los Angeles Times book prize, the 2010 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards for Best Contemporary Mystery, and the United Kingdom's Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger Award. The novel exposes a rural Mississippi town's secrets when a teenaged girl mysteriously disappears, and delves into the lives of two childhood friends, Silas Jones and Larry Ott, as they confront the painful past they have ignored for almost thirty years. A captivating and engaging speaker, Franklin is perfect for universities, libraries, literary organizations, and community reading groups, to name a few.
Franklin's first work, Poachers (William Morrow), cast him into the literary limelight when it won the Edgar Award in 1999. The collection of ten stunning tales set in the woodlands, swamps, and chemical plants along the Alabama River portrays the bleak, and often violent, life of the rural south. He is also the author of Smonk (William Morrow) and Hell at the Breech (William Morrow), both of which served to establish him as a unique, Southern voice with which to be reckoned.
Born in the hamlet of Dickinson, Alabama, Franklin worked his way through college, holding odd jobs at warehouses and plants, including a stint cleaning up hazardous waste for a chemical plant. After earning his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Alabama, Franklin began work on his master's degree while working at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama. From there, he held a teaching position at Selma University, a historical, all-black, Baptist college, and then earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas, where he met his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly. After winning third prize in the Playboy College Fiction Contest, Franklin decided to pursue a career in creative writing and, in 2001, won the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He currently teaches the University of Mississippi's MFA program and lives with his wife and two children in Oxford, Mississippi, a place he loves and hopes to never leave.
Photo by Maude Schuyler Clay
Praise for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter:
"The classic trifecta of talent, heart, and a bone-deep sense of storytelling....A masterful performance, deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end, I woke with this story on my mind."
-- David Wroblewski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
"A new Tom Franklin novel is always a reason to get excited, but Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is more -- a cause for celebration. What a great novel by a great novelist."
-- Dennis Lehane, author of Live by Night
"The perfect blend of great writing and really great suspense."
-- John Searles on Weekend Today
"A powerful literary thriller."
-- Seattle Times
"[A] wondrous reading pleasure."
-- Los Angeles Times
"[Franklin is] an incredible talent...A novel to enjoy and remember, to recommend to story-loving friends."
-- Louisville Courier Journal